The scene captivated the nation -- Americans spent the afternoon glued to their television sets watching a flying saucer-shaped balloon floating over Colorado that police said was carrying 6-year-old Falcon Heene.
Two hours after the experimental weather balloon floated away unexpectedly from the Heene house, it landed in a field.
Rescue workers cut it open expecting to find Falcon, but he wasn't inside.
Five hours later, he appeared in his parents house unharmed.
"He says he was hiding in the attic because I yelled at him. I'm really sorry I yelled at him," Richard Heene, the boy's father, said.
Heene says he had yelled at his son earlier in the day for getting inside the balloon.
"I didn't really want to come out really soon cause I thought he would yell at me and I didn't want to get in trouble," 6-year-old Falcon Heene said.
But some are now questioning whether the whole ordeal was a hoax.
When asked during an interview with CNN, why he didn't come out of hiding when his name was called, Falcon said "you guys said that we did this for a show."
When asked to explain his son's comment, Richard Heene said he was appalled anyone would suggest anything about the situation was planned.
The Heene family thrives on adventure.
They appeared in the ABC reality show Wife Swap and regularly chase severe weather as a family.
"We're in the middle of Hurricane Gustav," Falcon said on a video.
Thursday's ordeal set off a storm of response that included military helicopters, plans to lower a person onto the balloon to get it down and the re-routing of commercial planes around the balloons flight path.
Richard Heene had been testing the balloon shortly before it became untethered.
He says his greatest fear was that Falcon would kick electrical wires inside it and get electrocuted.
When the balloon landed with no sign of the boy, his parents feared something else had happened.
"That really tore me apart. The only thing I could think of was that he had fallen out," Richard Heene said.
Heene describes Falcon as the most adventurous and elusive of his three boys, but at in this case, it appears the 6-year-old may have just been scared.